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> Playing With Someone Else's Gear - Never Worked For Me?!?!
KenA
post Jan 1 2016, 06:55 PM
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Have you ever been in a situation where someone just handles you a guitar, let's say in a party or in a jam situation, but you feel totally unconfortable with the equipment and you just can't play decently?

Is it natural that I just can play with my guitar, with my overdrive and fxs settings, etc?

Ok, I know that there will always be some differences, but most of the time it's so different that it's almost un-playable.

Anyone had experienced a similar situation? What do you do?

Thanks for any tips.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Jan 1 2016, 11:27 PM
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Interesting topic -

Personally I couldn't agree more with you. Whenever handed a new type of guitar I feel totally lost.

In a critical situation (ie a gig) - I would consider this negative. However for practicing / creativity - I find this useful.

To clarify - I have several guitars but they are all pretty different. On a daily basis I will play my RG with a wizard neck as well as my LP with a 60s neck (super fat neck!!). They make me play completely different stuff - and to me that is worth everything.


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KenA
post Jan 2 2016, 11:05 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jan 1 2016, 10:27 PM) *
Interesting topic -
Personally I couldn't agree more with you....


Thanks Kris for the input, if you have a similar feeling I then feel a bit more calm now! The thing about having different guitars as you mentioned is definitely a good point since it may help for a more rapid adaptation when you hold a totally different guitar.

One thing I do is to avoid setting string heights to that extreme low, almost buzzing settings and also I use regular 10 to 46 gauges, but again you never know what they will throw at your hands anyways.
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 2 2016, 05:09 PM
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This also happens to me. Each guitar feels different depending on the model, string gauge, action, bridge, pick ups, and also depending on the amp that you are using. This is something normal, and I've learnt that the more technique headroom I have the better I will be able to play at uncomfortable situations so practice is once again the key.

However, when talking about important events, you always can bring your guitar, pedals in order to feel comfortable to play. I remember once Malmsteen has done an interview here in Buenos Aires, and there was an acoustic guitar to be signed and given to a fan. The interviewer asked Malmsteen to play and he refused it because the guitar wasn't comfortable to play and action wasn't low.


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klasaine
post Jan 2 2016, 05:53 PM
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I don't know - if the inst stays relatively in tune and the action and string gauge is within the 'normal' range, I have no problem. It's really more about 1) what Gab said about having technique headroom (great description!) and 2) being in the situation where you're not playing your own instrument. The more it happens, the more you're used to it.
Ultimately it comes down to confidence. You need to know you can play what you're gonna play. That's all just practice.

*I was once at a party where the host, a painter, said he had a guitar and would I play it? Sure! I say. So it only has three strings on it - D, G and B (I think?) and trust me, this was a real piece of shit instrument. Just bad and abused. Thankfully the host's girlfriend was there. She played cello and actually had it with her so I said, "lets freely improvise some duets" - I played the 'art' card. Everybody thought it was great. Was it? Doubtful, but most folks don't really know (unless they're musicians and even then - ?). Anyway - it made everybody happy, kept the party interesting, etc.

Moral: Learn to work with you've got or what you're given.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 2 2016, 06:04 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 2 2016, 08:42 PM
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As you get more and more experience on your instrument, being thrown a curve ball such as using someone elses gear will impact you a bit less. So much of your tone/sound comes from your fingers and how you play that as long as the gear at hand is even remotely workable, you can make it sing smile.gif As Kris said, it's a good creative challenge to pickup and play gear that is alien to you. It forces your hands and brain to adapt which is a good thing smile.gif

Like kris I will play my RG with the super thin neck then switch to the RICK HANES which feels like an old charvel neck, or the fretlight which has a huge neck. Then I"ll switch from plugins to pedals, to the 11 rack etc. Every time I switch I find it leads me to new places in playing. If I play the same gear all the time, it almost railroads me in to playing the same stuff. So mixing it up is good smile.gif

Todd


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KenA
post Jan 2 2016, 11:34 PM
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Wow, thanks everyone for the feedback ... I believe I agree and I'll keep in mind all the thoughts ... in the end it's a mix of experimenting different guitars, amps, playing in different ambient where you're used to, etc. --> acquiring experience.
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 4 2016, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE (KenA @ Jan 2 2016, 07:34 PM) *
--> acquiring experience.


Exactly! Experience that comes with practice and time.


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Darius Wave
post Jan 4 2016, 05:23 PM
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Technique headroom - I really liked that one Gab smile.gif

Yep...it's a matter of how "easy" playing-wise you have your regular gear set-up. If you play on 9's gauge and high-distortion it will be naturall to feel very uncomfortable when somebody gives you 11's gauge strings with tube-screamer type of distortion. It's a "on edge" comparison but basicly that's how it feels probably for most of us.

The trick is to know how to and how to not play in particular sutuation. You get the gear in your hands and after first few notes you should be able to judge how far you can go with it. Just avoid things that might fail to make overall performance pleasant to listeners/audience ears smile.gif

There is a bunch of situations in your musical life that will make you want to get stronger. For example
1. Adjust higher string action at least for the instrument you usually use to practice
2. Skip to thicker strings gauge
3. Use much less gain and much more demanding (dynamics wise) type of distortion
4. Play way harder than you think it's ok while you play at home

All obove is not a must. It's only you who will decide how far you want to go with your ability or rather...total control of the instrument. Remeber - people don't care what gear you have in your hands at the moment. The always judge you as a player. If you want to prepared for such a situations, you need to start doing things "the hard way".

I know it's hard to explain and it kind of...does not make sense at the beginning....but once you decide to be "above the limits", you'll soon understand why is this for smile.gif


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klasaine
post Jan 4 2016, 06:33 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 4 2016, 09:23 AM) *
People don't care what gear you have in your hands at the moment. They always judge you as a player. If you want to prepared for such a situations, you need to start doing things "the hard way".


+1000
That really is the bottom line.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Jan 4 2016, 11:10 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 2 2016, 06:53 PM) *
*I was once at a party where the host, a painter, said he had a guitar and would I play it? Sure! I say. So it only has three strings on it - D, G and B (I think?) and trust me, this was a real piece of shit instrument. Just bad and abused. Thankfully the host's girlfriend was there. She played cello and actually had it with her so I said, "lets freely improvise some duets" - I played the 'art' card. Everybody thought it was great. Was it? Doubtful, but most folks don't really know (unless they're musicians and even then - ?). Anyway - it made everybody happy, kept the party interesting, etc.


I bet you played something very different to what you would have done with a better, 6 stringed guitar?


QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 4 2016, 06:23 PM) *
There is a bunch of situations in your musical life that will make you want to get stronger. For example
1. Adjust higher string action at least for the instrument you usually use to practice
2. Skip to thicker strings gauge
3. Use much less gain and much more demanding (dynamics wise) type of distortion
4. Play way harder than you think it's ok while you play at home


Great list! I am currently working on imposing these kinds of limitations on myself. I haven't tried #1 yet though!


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klasaine
post Jan 4 2016, 11:38 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jan 4 2016, 03:10 PM) *
I bet you played something very different to what you would have done with a better, 6 stringed guitar?


True, I had no option that night but ... I tend to put limitations similar to that on myself anyway. It's actually a common 'jazz' practice/learning technique to limit yourself to one string or one position or maybe just 3 notes over a blues/simpler progression, etc.
A lot of times it's even necessary to do that on a gig or a session. Like if there's two guitar players and a keyboard player and horns. At that point there's a lot sonic space potentially being taken up. Sometimes you just need to think ... "what's the least I can do here?"

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 4 2016, 11:39 PM


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KenA
post Jan 5 2016, 11:53 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 4 2016, 04:23 PM) *
...
3. Use much less gain and much more demanding (dynamics wise) type of distortion
...


Darius explanation is really cool, specially item 3. ... the kind of amp/dist one uses makes all the difference, let's take an example of a fast guitar player eg. Michael Angelo, if you give him a Fender Strat (regular string heights) and an amp like Blues Deville, I'm not sure he could perform the same licks at the same speed and even if he could the overall sound would be very different (probably less cool) that what he does with high gain.

My main issues with high gain is lost of dynamics and I also find it very difficult to play clean (that's probably my muting technique is not good).

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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 5 2016, 01:40 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 4 2016, 01:23 PM) *
Technique headroom - I really liked that one Gab smile.gif


There is a bunch of situations in your musical life that will make you want to get stronger. For example
1. Adjust higher string action at least for the instrument you usually use to practice
2. Skip to thicker strings gauge
3. Use much less gain and much more demanding (dynamics wise) type of distortion
4. Play way harder than you think it's ok while you play at home



+1 to this Darius! This list is perfect!

This post has been edited by Gabriel Leopardi: Jan 5 2016, 01:40 PM


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Darius Wave
post Jan 5 2016, 03:14 PM
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Thank You guys! Seems like most of us have been through this and conclusions are similar.

KenA - yep it is possible that some players might have been directing their technique to work best with particular type of tone. In my case for example circle picking is ulta cool for high gain tones but I usually have to rip off my wrist anyway because in real life playing I do prefer very responsive (equal to "hard to play") type of distorion. Profits? Awesome headroom for picking response and much bigger clarity of harmonies being played on distortion. I also try to spend some time on practicing acoustic guitar with thicker gauge then I use for electric guitars.

One of the good solutions for jam sessions etc is to find a stomp box distortion that is closest to your regular amp - dynamics wise. Usually nobody makes problems with giving you an ability to plug your own little piece into the chain, unless you do not mess to much on the other part of the rig. Your own distortion pedal gives you familiar (to you) dynamics response) and ability to slightly tweak frequency range


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KenA
post Jan 5 2016, 04:03 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 5 2016, 02:14 PM) *
Thank You guys! Seems like most of us have been through this and conclusions are similar...



Great tips here! Thanks everyone for the tips. ( the stomp box solution is also a good thing to do )
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klasaine
post Jan 6 2016, 03:31 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 5 2016, 07:14 AM) *
Usually nobody makes problems with giving you an ability to plug your own little piece into the chain, unless you do not mess to much on the other part of the rig. Your own distortion pedal gives you familiar (to you) dynamics response) and ability to slightly tweak frequency range.


In this type of situation (a jam session) you 'may not' be able to plug in an OD. And even if you do, all of them are amp dependent to some degree. The bottom line is that you have to learn to deal with limitations and adversity in gear.
Yngwie not withstanding, 99% of good to great players will play anything handed to them and will sound pretty much like themselves regardless of the gear or the circumstances.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 6 2016, 03:32 AM


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 6 2016, 07:26 AM
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You may be suprised what he and yngwie can do on mid / low gain smile.gif They have enormous finger power and control. It sounds like your muting maybe be an issue worth looking into.

here is yngwie starting out mid gain. Watch his mute as well.



QUOTE (KenA @ Jan 5 2016, 05:53 AM) *
Darius explanation is really cool, specially item 3. ... the kind of amp/dist one uses makes all the difference, let's take an example of a fast guitar player eg. Michael Angelo, if you give him a Fender Strat (regular string heights) and an amp like Blues Deville, I'm not sure he could perform the same licks at the same speed and even if he could the overall sound would be very different (probably less cool) that what he does with high gain.

My main issues with high gain is lost of dynamics and I also find it very difficult to play clean (that's probably my muting technique is not good).


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Jan 6 2016, 07:27 AM


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klasaine
post Jan 6 2016, 07:17 PM
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Also, in regard to Yngwie, he uses a 'scalloped' fret board and relatively speaking, he doesn't use that much gain ... in comparison to modern shred guys.


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Darius Wave
post Jan 9 2016, 12:57 PM
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Oh...yes that's the basic difference between those "old school shredders". Words "high gain" have a totally different meaning these days. I think the very first important lesson about the gain you get when you go first time on the big stage with real band smile.gif You hit "volume boost" for solo and you experience what feedback means in a live conditions ha ha smile.gif)) Watching some of the vids of guys who are actually able to play quite well at home but then on stage they can't handle their "home tone", getting those ultra annoying high frequency feedback issues. I think it's a kind of good thing...For sure it's better than trying to explain why to not absue the gain for decades. Once you're in such a situation you say to yourself "never again" and start to figure out how to avoid this. Of course there will always be a smart ass saying it's sound engeneer's fault tongue.gif

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